|Final - 9.29.2010||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R|
|Final - 9.29.2010||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
All the talk about Justin Verlander possibly taking the mound Sunday in order to have a chance at winning 20 games has become officially moot.
Max Scherzer had been nigh unbeatable in the second half of the season, until this afternoon.
The Tigers' top two starters, their ace and ace in waiting, were beat by a pair of Indians rookies, Mitch Talbot and Josh Tomlin. The Tribe swept the Tigers in an old school doubleheader, two games played back to back, in front of tens of fans in Cleveland.
The Indians rode two run hone runs from Travis Hafner and Shin-Soo Choo, to victory in game one, 4-0. In the nightcap, the Tribe came from behind to win, 4-3, with Michael Brantley's 5th inning triple being the big hit of the game winning rally.
Despite Scherzer and Verlander not having their best games, the day could have been much different if the Tigers could have put together any offense...well, we've been saying that most of the season, haven't we? Seeing the offense struggle to score is nothing new. It's just gotten that much worse with the big bat of Miguel Cabrera silenced for the rest of the season.
Jim Leyland didn't care about missing Cabrera. He wasn't at all happy about the Tigers' appraoch at the plate.
Via the Freep's John Lowe:
"Pretty anemic — we played like it was a spring-training ‘B’ game. We had lazy swings. We played like it was still raining."
Tell us what you really think, Jim.
In fact, almost all the offense in the twin bill was generated by one of the few Tigers swinging the bat with power and purpose, Ryan Raburn. Batting cleanup with Cabrera out of the lineup, Raburn was 4-8 on the day, his two run shot in top of the 1st of game two was the only high point of the day from the Tigers' anemic offense.
It was fitting the Tigers' other run scored on a Johnny Damon single, a pop up hit into no-man's land in the middle of the infield, which might have traveled all of 60 feet. A pop up from a pop gun offense.
So ended the scoring for the Tigers in what really was a forgettable day in Cleveland.
- Despite giving up four runs, Verlander had electric stuff at times. He threw a typical 121 pitches, and posted 10 strikeouts. In the 7th inning, with the based juiced with Indians, he stuck out Shin-Soo Choo on three pitches all clocking over 100 MPH. In fact, his final seven pitches were all over 100 MPH on the radar gun. Verlander truly is a freak of nature.
Austin Jackson added another accolade to his marvelous rookie season. His single in game one was his 180th hit of the season, which allowed him to join Shoeless Joe Jackson, Juan Samuel and Hanley Ramirez as the only rookies to collect 100 runs scored, 180 hits, 30 doubles, 10 triples, and 25 stolen bases as a rookie. We're going to have lots of fun watching AJax's Tigers career.
- By playing in both games, Johnny Damon joined Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Brooks Robinson and Pete Rose as the fifth player in MLB history to play in 140 or more games in 15 straight seasons. Congrats Johnny, I hope you make it 16 straight seasons next year...though I doubt it will be in a Tigers uniform.
- The season series with the Indians ended 9-9, with each team going 8-1 at home.
The Tigers now head to Baltimore for a season ending four game series against the Orioles. At 80-78, the Tigers need to take one game from the O's to guarantee a .500 season, and two for a winning one. As I predicted 84 wins before the season started...you know what I'm hoping to happen.